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Is it common for seniors to get STDs?

There was a story online a while back about how seniors with dementia forget social rules and that it isn't uncommon for there to be sex amongst residents at senior communities. My grandpa is 87 and I've seen a lot more flirting behavior from him than I've ever seen before, should I be concerned about unsafe sex risks?
Status: Open    Dec 08, 2015 - 08:00 AM

Senior Health & Nutrition, Senior Living Communities

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Dec 15, 2015 - 10:15 AM

I'm sure there are statistics on the frequency of STDs/STIs among seniors. Sexuality and dementia is not an easy topic to discuss, so I will try to be professional with my language.

Inappropriate sexual behavior is a potential behavior risk with dementia, and I would recommend investigating further. It is more common in the frontotemporal dementias. I think NCBI/NIH cited a statistic that 17% of seniors with dementia have hypersexual behavior (

You may want to ask the question of your grandfather's doctors. It's hard to give you a definitive answer on whether you should be concerned. I would say, "not necessarily, but do check."

Here is one thing I can definitively tell you:
As a Senior Living Director, hypersexuality is one of the more dangerous behaviors I look for when we consider admitting to Memory Care. It can manifest in several ways, the most dangerous of which is directly sexual behavior like public masturbation or overt sexual advances. Many of the earlier signs seem to be easily denied: hugging, petting, euphemisms, facial expressions. When you care for someone who has some of the behaviors, they can become pretty clear. I have seen males persistently "graze" caregivers breasts or inappropriately linger on a back or shoulder blade. It is often very difficult to find placement with a history of such behaviors. The biggest concern is that the behaviors don't seem to turn off, so someone with this type of behavior has to be watched constantly and still may place other residents or staff at risk.
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